I really love traditions and Christmas is a time of year that we share many traditions together. Advent is one special tradition during our Christmas season.
Beginning in the year 2000, Michael and I began our family Advent wreath tradition. I was introduced to the idea of the Advent wreath at the church we attended. I quickly recognized the way it could create family togetherness and wonderful memories. Our time spent around the Advent wreath has brought tremendous joy and closeness to our family.
Our Advent wreath is assembled from a McCarty Mississippi clay candle plate (something from our native state) and sprigs from our yearly Christmas tree (something we choose as a family).
Michael as head of our home does all of our reading and lights the first purple candle.
Reading for the First Sunday of Advent: (as used by Rev. Fairchild)
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent means "coming" and in this season we prepare for the coming of Christ. One of the ways we prepare for his coming is by making an Advent wreath and lighting its candles to remind us of the gifts Christ brings to the world.
The Advent wreath includes many symbols to help us think about Christ and his gifts. The wreath itself is in the shape of a circle. A circle has no beginning and no end. This reminds us that there is no beginning and no end to God and that God's love and caring are forever.
The light from the candles - which grows stronger each Sunday in Advent, reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world.
Today we light the candle of HOPE. The people of Israel hoped in God's promises and were not disappointed. Again and again God delivered Israel from its enemies. We too have the same experience of salvation. That is why we believe in God's promise to send Jesus to us once again to judge the world and establish his kingdom forever upon the earth. (lighting of the candle)
HOPE is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at the light of this candle we celebrate the HOPE we have in Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Thank you God for the HOPE you give us. We ask that as we wait for all your promises to come true, and for Christ to come again, that you would remain present with us. Help us today, and everyday to worship you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing your HOPE with each other. We ask it in the name of the one who was born in Bethlehem. Amen.
Michael will light this candle each night this week after a daily reading and reciting the following poem together:
"Candle, candle, burning bright,
Shining in the cold winter night,
Candle, candle, burning bright,
Fill our hearts with Christmas Light."
We then sing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."
Our time concludes with Olivia and Isaac adding to our advent calendar and blowing out the candle.
Does your family celebrate Advent in a special way?